Giving vs. Receiving: Growing Older & Extreme Frustration

Mom, Her Mom, and Me - 1973

Mom, Her Mom, and Me – 1973

Change is constant when we age, and it’s important for adult children occasionally to consider the changes in our elder parents’ lives by looking through the prisms that our parents gaze through and thoughtfully examining their perspectives.

In a conversation with my mom — who has found herself less energetic and more dependent on others — she shared her journal essay about the many changes in her life. Mom expressed her sometimes vexation with elderhood while also analyzing what causes her to often feel so frustrated.

She wrote that she had often presented talks based on the Bible verse in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give to receive.” Mom noted that as she has aged, she’s realized that while there is much discourse on the “giving” aspect of the verse, there is little, if any discussion on the idea of receiving. She feels unprepared for a time in life — right now — when she gives less and receives  more. Mother’s insightful piece was published in the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community publication, “What’s Up at VMRC?

In her journal essay my mother writes:                      Continue reading

Elders Share Wisdom on Love: A Valentine’s Day Treat!

Adult children learn a lot from elder parents.

book-cover-305x450Take a few minutes to read Love Lessons From the Wisest Americanspublished over at the NextAvenue.org site and a great Valentine’s Day treat. The article, published on February 12, 2015, will help to clear up quite a few misconceptions about our aging parents.

Written by Suzanne Gerber, this piece describes research interviews with around 700 elders documenting what they say, looking back, about love and life. Cornell University gerontologist Karl Pillemer, Ph.D conducted the research and wove it into a book, 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationship, and Marriage.

At his Vimeo video website, Dr. Pillemer has posted some of the interviews. You can also visit Dr. Pillemer’s Legacy Project website. Check them both out.

Best Quotes From the Article Continue reading

Hospital Cafeterias With No Low-Sodium Options? – Low Sodium Diet, Part II

Read other Low Salt Journey installments: Senior Parents Get Started in Their 80′s: Part IHospital Cafeterias With No Low-Sodium Options? Part IIMaking Sense of Sodium Labels and Numbers: Part III, and 5 Lessons Learned About Cutting Back on Sodium: Low-Salt Eating: Part IV.

Over the past six weeks I have been in four hospital cafeterias with three different friends or family members who are instructed by to follow low-sodium diets by their physicians, cardiologists specifically, affiliated with these same medical institutions.

All four hospitals have spiffy and very comfortable, actually pretty fancy new heart centers for tests and procedures.

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iPad for Dad, #16: Maps

Last weekend I visited my dad, and we had only a bit of time to enjoy the iPad together. However, quite by accident we started playing with the map application.

I turned on the location part of the map program and then showed my father how look over maps of his neighborhood and town. Next we put in a few favorite places from the — Carnegie Hall in New York City, Branch Brook Park in New Jersey, Rochester, New York, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a town where he went to college and more. We even visited the Library of Congress.

Each time I showed Dad how he could enlarge the map to a point that allowed him see actual neighborhoods and streets that he remembered. He was just delighted to connect with so many familiar places. As we played together, we probably looked up eight or ten locations where Dad had visited, lived, or worked. Now I know that we can also do this on Google Earth, which not only gets to the street but also to a picture of the actual house or building  — but a year ago, pre-iPad — when I demonstrated Google Earth to my parents, it required way too many steps.

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Aging Parents: Happy Mother’s Day!

My mom and me in late 1952.

Last January I wrote this post about my amazing mother. Not too many people read it then, so I am recycling it because I had so much fun writing it. It is also pasted in below. What an amazing woman!

Besides being one of the Obama super-volunteers in the Shenandoah Valley last year, she is active in politics, a book club, and church, and she is always ready to get in touch with a Congressperson or Senator about an important issue (right now that is health care reform). Currently she is helping to make hygiene kits for Church World Service to send to Haiti. My mom loves her computer, uses it judiciously, and was on Facebook long before I was because she wanted to keep in touch with the young people who worked with her on the Obama campaign.

Though she is 82 years old, last summer Mom took a stress test when her blood pressure was high, and the result is that she has the body/heart of a 64-year-old. Did I mention that she swims and exercises four or five times a week?

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Aging Moms, Boomer Daughters, and Granddaughters: Estrogen?

Many of our aging moms took estrogen for significant periods, and many adult daughters — like me — have taken estrogen and then stopped and started and stopped again. Some boomer adult women continue to take the medication. I keep hearing from older women, including my mom, that they did not feel as good after stopping estrogen (Read this Mayo Clinic article about pros and cons.), commenting about things such as sharpness, energy, and general well-being. I know I feel different when I am taking some variation of the medication. Cynthia Gorney’s article, The Estrogen Dilemma, in the April 12, 2010 New York Times Magazine, presents current surmises about estrogen, its possibilities as a medication, and scientists’ rethinking about who should be taking it. In essence, our mothers were the experimenters, and though they may not have known it at the time their legacy may benefit their daughters and granddaughters. How much will we be able to learn and benefit from our mothers’ estrogen experiences?
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